Palestinian advocates validated — once again — that division, not unity, is the name of their game.
The Feb. 7 anti-Israel meet at Brooklyn College was a grand lesson in how to conduct a bigoted public forum in the land of the free, with the media barred, and four Jewish students booted for alleged disruptiveness, despite a disproving audiotape of the event.
The taxpayer-funded college is now the unenviable focus of a City University of New York investigation on charges that the gathering — organized by Students for Justice in Palestine — fostered forbiddance, not free speech. That’s a far cry from a week earlier when college honchos defended the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement’s right to spout anti-Semitism on its campus.
Paisley Currah, chairman of the co-sponsoring political science department, was sufficiently seized by Palestinian fever to write a defensive dissertation rivaling “War and Peace” in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
“What we are doing is supporting the open and free exchange of ideas,” he waxed.
Journalism student Melanie Goldberg attended the affair, but experienced the opposite.
She told this column that she and three classmates were tossed out for having photocopies of questions for speaker and movement founder Omar Barghouti.
“Someone from the S.J.P. came to me and said, ‘Give me all your papers, or you’ll be forcibly removed from the event,’ ” said Goldberg, 21. “Not only was it a violation of my freedom of speech, but they made sure to silence me.”
So much for Currah’s claptrap about an unconstrained exchange.
“The whole point of having this debate was that it would be an open academic forum where I would be allowed to ask questions, so I came prepared to ask questions,” said Goldberg, adding that college vice president Milga Morales, who was there, refused to help her.
“She said, ‘It’s their event and they’re calling the shots,’ ”Goldberg said. “I’ve lost faith in Brooklyn College because they failed to uphold both sides of the issue.”
Morales declined to comment for this column, but the college said in a statement, “If we learn that these students were denied that opportunity without cause, as they allege, the decision to have them removed will have been inappropriate and the college will issue a formal apology.”
Much too little. Much too late.
At last check, this was America, where even hate groups like Barghouti’s enjoy their constitutional dues — not the West Bank or the Gaza Strip where Palestinian security cockroaches routinely squash free speech.
They attack, torture, and detain journalists, and confiscate their equipment, according to the Human Rights Watch.
“Both the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza need to end these blatant attacks on free expression,” the group states.
Barghouti should have drawn attention to aggressive, oppressive Palestinians, instead of griping groundlessly about Jews, and raving, “We’re witnessing the rise of a new McCarthyism in this country led by Israel, its lobby groups, and defenders of the denial of basic Palestinian rights.”
Barghouti closes the case on how Palestinians are the first ones to sabotage their own cause.
Brooklyn College foolishly granted proud Jew-bashers a ready platform. Now it must be equally diligent about finding out why Jewish students were chucked from a public powwow that it insisted — until blue in its intellectual face — was kosher.
Read Shavana Abruzzo's column every Friday on BrooklynDaily.com. E-mail here at [email protected].